Staff writer and photographer
Since its incarnation three months ago, the committee devoted to reopening the Eminence Community Pool appears to be living up to its name.
‘Making Waves’ met Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Henry County Public Library to update community members on their progress and elect temporary officers.
Eminence resident Manda Gingrich, Making Waves organizer, was appointed chairperson and Craig Meadows, an Eminence high school senior was selected as secretary. Meadows is using the program as his senior project. In addition, Debra Chism was elected treasurer.
Gingrich then offered the group of 30 a brief progress report. According to Gingrich, since the group’s efforts began, they have raised $5,000 in pledges, collected nearly 500 names via petition, garnered the support of three council members and Mayor Jim Petitt, and some preliminary renovations are underway. They also have spoken with the mayors of New Castle and Pleasureville along with several church leaders who are interested in showing their support.
“I’m amazed by the community’s interest and support of this matter,” Gingrich said. “We definitely need all the help we can get. The beauty of having three council members on our side is that the mayor can break all ties and we know he supports this.”
Petitt, in attendance that night, provided his own update as well. According to Petitt, the process of draining the pool has begun. A small amount of water was left on the pool floor for “winter weight.” In addition, arrangements were made to have a dumpster delivered from ID. Petitt also has been in touch with grant writer Nellie Druin.
“I am working with Nellie and Manda to submit numerous bids,” Petitt said.
The mayor said he has spoken with individuals from the state and local health departments and was, at the time of the meeting, trying to contact a state pool engineer, and has been in contact with Whitney Young a representative from Job Corps, who, according to Petitt “are willing to help with building, painting and other construction. They need pool project needs in writing.”
Petitt also has set aside a line item in the city’s budget specifically for reopening the pool.
“So far everything seems to be in order,” he said. “I have found no major problems with the swimming pool.”
Gingrich made it a point to publicly acknowledge Petitt’s efforts thus far.
“I want to thank you for appointing me to this community pool project,” Gingrich said, speaking to Petitt. “Our main concerns have been ‘reputable’ bids. We appreciate you getting bids.”
Gingrich’s husband Doug spoke on Petitt’s behalf as well.
“I’ll be the first to admit that Jim and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on everything,” he said. “But he really stood up against the former council and begged them not to fill the pool with concrete. If he hadn’t stopped that, we wouldn’t be sitting here tonight.”
‘Making Waves’ will be fundraising at Eminence’s ‘Breakfast with Santa’ this Saturday Dec. 15.
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